My 3rd Great Grandfather, John Parrott was born in 1740 in Toms Brook, Shenandoah, Virginia to Frederick and Barbara (Edwards) Parrott. He was the oldest of 11 children. In 1761 he married Catherine Meyers. He and Catherine had seven children. In 1769 they moved their family to Tennessee where he founded the town of Parrottsville. (It is currently the third oldest town in that State)
When the Revolutionary War broke out all of his younger brothers joined the fight. It wasn’t until July 4 1777 that John enlisted as a private in Colonel William Grayson’s Virginia Regiment. He would have been 37 at the time of his enlistment, comparatively old for a soldier in those days. His age probably accounts for why he did not enlist earlier when his brothers did. It was undoubtedly a sacrifice for him to serve, for he left a wife of 17 years and a large family behind.
John’s regiment was one of sixteen organized by a congressional resolution in Congress in December 1777. Four of the sixteen units were composed largely of Virginians. John’s commander, William Grayson, had been assistant secretary and aide-de-camp to George Washington at the time he was put in command of his regiment. John was assigned to Captain Thomas Triplett’s company. By April 1779, the regiment, significantly reduced in size due to a smallpox epidemic, merged with Colonel Nathaniel Gist’s regiment, where John served under the command of Captain Joseph Smith.
The entire Parrott family was very Patriotic. That is why it was a shock that on August 19, 1779 John deserted his regiment after serving only 14 months of his three-year commitment. It was not uncommon during the Revolutionary War for soldiers to leave their troops for family emergencies. John deserted because the love of his life was gravely ill. He cared for Catherine until her death in 1781. Within a few months John married Louisa Bean. Together they had 5 children, the youngest one being Catherine my 3rd Great Grandmother. Catherine was named for John’s first wife.
Although John deserted his responsibility to the War he was still honored with a commemorative marker at his gravesite by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The marker that was placed there in 1783 still remains today. It is speculated that this was because he only deserted for the love of his wife and not because he didn’t believe in the cause.
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